We Don’t Walk Alone

We Don’t Walk Alone

Matthew 14:28-31‘Lord, if it’s You’, Peter answered Him, ‘command me to come to You on the water.’ ‘Come!’ He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’

Here we see Peter stepping out boldly in faith because of his trust in Jesus. He was focused on Jesus and knew that through Jesus enabling Him, he could walk toward Him, despite the roaring waters that separated them. As Peter stepped out in faith, Jesus empowered him to walk on the water. However then Peter became distracted by the crashing waves around him, and being consumed with fear and doubt, began to lose his focus on Jesus. As a result he began to sink. As he cried out to Jesus for help, Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed his hand.

What an amazing story!

We see the power of faith in Jesus at work, and the courage displayed by Peter in stepping out of his comfort zone. Could you imagine stepping out of the safety of the boat onto the roaring seas? This recollection of Peter’s bold step of faith gives us great encouragement as well as a firm warning. God will call us out of our comfort zone. It’s in His nature to, as supported throughout the Bible in the stories of Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Paul etc. He wants us to make the choice to follow Him, no matter the obstacles. That’s how we grow in our faith and learn to rely on Him completely.

It was about this time last year that my wife, Christina, and I felt God calling us to be a part of the birthing of Hills Bible Church. It was both exciting and very scary. Our son Caleb was the only child at the time, and there were no other children in the congregation. It would’ve been very easy to justify to ourselves to stay at our previous church so that there would be other kids for Caleb. We were in a settled, supportive small group. We could have easily stayed in our comfort zone. However God was clear that we were to do His work at HBC, to help build a church that faithfully taught the gospel message and nurture one another in God’s Word. So despite the circumstances, we chose to obey God and journey into the ‘unknown land’. There were plenty of early struggles, in particular when Chris and I lost our second baby. We felt isolated and heart broken. But even in our darkest times, Jesus reached down and held us by the hand. We persevered in focusing on Him despite our struggles and we were blessed with a new small group and a church congregation that continues to grow with it’s vitality and love for the Lord. What a blessing! Only recently another baby has been born in to the church… Caleb is not alone! And Chris and I are expecting our next child in march next year!

Step Forward Boldly

It takes courage to step out in faith, but we must continue to focus on the source of our faith and courage – Jesus. If we don’t, we will sink. It’s natural to be sacred and nervous journeying into the unknown, but courage is defined as stepping forward in obedience to Christ despite those fears. In doing so when we call out to Jesus, He will hear us and hold us by the hand, granting us the faith and strength to soldier on. What a comforting and reassuring promise! With Jesus reigning in our hearts, we can step forward boldly, knowing that He will help us on our journey and never let us walk alone. What blessings await those who don’t procrastinate, but boldly follow Jesus, no matter the obstacles that lie ahead!

Is Jesus calling you out of your comfort zone? What roaring waters are distracting you from boldly following Jesus? We mustn’t be surprised when we are continually challenged by the road that God is leading us on. It provides us with the awesome opportunity to display the power of God in our lives, and receive the blessings that God has for us. God gives us the choice to either follow Him, despite the storms that may lay ahead; or to stay put. What choice will you make? We will only discover God’s best by stepping out in faith and following Jesus. We only have one life to do it. Let’s not miss out on the opportunity to take Jesus by the hand and allow Him to lead us according to God’s good plan for us!

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  1. Soli Deo Gloria

    Don’t you love Peter’s impetuosity! He so ofter acted without thinking in the early days, and he said things that made him a mouthpiece for the devil at times. For all that the Lord loved him. He is a bundle of contradictions, like us.
    When logical people look at Peter, they find it hard to find examples to follow in his life, for this reason. I think Peter would agree with Paul when he said ‘follow me as I follow Christ – that is the lesson we most definitely can take from Peter’s life.
    If we look for ways of connecting God’s approval of our actions, I think we will not always come to the right conclusion. For example, Job was a man famous for his faith, and yet his world was turned upside down, and the reasons were hidden from him. The circumstances in Job’s life went down, and down and down, and there seemed no end to the crushing blows that fell on him. He was tempted to use logic to counter his friends ‘analysis’ of the situation, but this did not help him. In some of his darkest and loneliest experiences, the Holy Spirits light dawned on his soul, and he could say Job 13:15, 19:25. Some of the greatest words of faith came from a man who was in the depths of despair agony of soul. It is true that God restored Job and gave him much more than he lost, but his faith was forged in the his massive trials which saw his children killed, his home and property destroyed, his health broken, and his friends impugning his integrity.
    So I know that just becasue I do the right thing today, there is no promise that God will shower me with blessings tomorrow. Just because I stand in a closed court and own Christ as my saviour, it does not mean I may avoid the certain execution that brings in some parts of the world. I just know that He brings us into circumstances day by day, and we have choices to make, and things we must say to honour Him. It doesn’t mean we always get it right, because we are frail, emotional, temperamental, self centred, weak and sinful. But God in Christ chose such people as us to follow Him, that the glory might be ALL His.

    • Stu (Author)

      Soli Deo Goria, what a blessing it is that our salvation and position with God is based on God’s promise through the redemptive work in Christ and not in how we feel or at times live our lives. It’s dangerous to rely on how we feel, when it comes to our salvation, as our heart can be very deceptive. On the flipside of that it’s deadly to allow ourselves to become proud by what we may have achieved as Christians.

      As we mature as Christians, we like Peter, realise how fragile we are. We realise more how sinful we are and how miraculous God’s grace in our lives is. I don’t feel this is by accident. It forces us to rely on the power and mercy of God to work in us. It helps us to realise that without God’s help we have NO hope. The resultant fruit then points to God’s saving grace in our lives and the power of God for others to see. This message brings hope to even the most unlikely people who may think they are not worthy.

      Through faith in Jesus Christ alone we are ALL worthy and accepted by God, no matter the hiccups we have along the way, or how we may may feel at times. God’s grace is not dependent on the emotional roller coaster of life, but on His unchanging and soul changing Word!

  2. Don

    “Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where to get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.” C.S. Lewis; Mere Christianity

    Many years ago, when I was a young Christian, I remember seeing the graphic illustration above of what C. S. Lewis has, here, so eloquently put into words. FACT is the engine of the train of the Christian life which pulls the car of FAITH behind with the caboose pulling up the rear, filled with FEELINGS.

    • Soli deo gloria

      I think there is something more that must be said about faith, and it is (in my view) the missing factor in contemporary church life. I think the aspect of faith that you describe here is defensive, and if I might be so bold it is saying “hang on by the skin of your teeth once you are persuaded”. The faith that I see in Scripture is not just having the right facts to hang faith on, it is something God given, and enables those who have received it to see beyond circumstances and believe the Promises, though there is not a scrap of evidence (or fact) to comfort those who have received this faith. For example: Heb 11.1, and particularly Heb 1.13 and v39.
      Now I do not believe faith is irrational, and the Lord guides us using very ordinary things and I do think He gives us common sense. The great thing for me is that the Lord of all time and space, who knows the end from the beginning, plants faith in the hearts of his people. That faith is a militant faith. That faith has a ‘homing’ direction in that it always points us (and others) to Christ, and has an unswerving trust in His Word and promises (just as He trusted in the Word to which He continually referred). There are things which we cannot verify (Genesis 1-3), and we must believe the Word of Him who is infinitely more qualified to explain beginnings than science ever shall be. If the Eternal God who created the Earth, the heavens, the light, and the stars that maintain this light, all creatures, and then sent God the Eternal Son to live and die, and rise from the dead for us – if he says He says clearly how He created, then I for one will trust His Word as much for that as for the invitation to ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’.
      It is the Word of God in both cases, and I am not at liberty to pick and choose which fact I can accept and which I can’t.
      Is this your faith too?

      One of the great hymns that the Church is losing is Isaac Watt’s ‘We Give Immortal Praise’ (words & music here” target=”_blank”).
      The last verse is as follows:
      Almighty God to Thee
      Be endless honours done
      The undivided Three
      And the mysterious One
      Where reason fails with all her powers
      There faith prevails and love adores.

      Is there any better way to approach worship than with this attitude? The more we apprehend the greatness and glory of God, the greater our faith will be, and the more spiritual our worship will be too.

        • Soli deo gloria

          If I may refer you back to one of your very relevant comments – ‘awesome’ is a term which must be reserved for God and God alone! The English language is being denuded by a lot of misuse in social networking sites … and it rubs off on all those who read the posts …
          But thank you for your kind comment.

  3. Bible Study

    I dont understand how people say Christians are sinful. The bible is clear in 1 John that he who is born of God (Christians) doth not commit sin. And again, he that sinneth is of the devil. And again in Romans, how are we who are dead to sin gonna live any longer therein, and again “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound. There are many others, “a good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit”. It does not say a good tree brings for some corrupt fruit, but that it cannot, it is impossible because of the new nature. Oh and 1 john says that when we are born of God we cannot commit sin because the seed of God remains in us. This is the bible, I know many will not agree, but the bible is true. Because some men continue in sin, instead of recognizing they are lost, they justify themselves, but that will not profit. There are many other scriptures as well which are hard to be understood for many, but none of them negate the ones mentioned above, they cannot be done away with. I know it is popular in the doctrine of men to say Christians continue in sin, but the truth is few find the straight path, and we must follow the bible which says to the contrary to this doctrine of sin. God has called us to holiness not uncleanness, he that despiseth, despiseth God, not man, who has given us of his Holy Spirit.

    • Stu (Author)

      Hi Bible Study,

      Would you mind clarifying what you mean specifically that “Christians don’t sin”. Are you saying that if you are a Christian you don’t sin any more because we are born of God? Or are you saying we can’t go on sinning, ie will turn away from sin more and more as we mature in our relationship with Christ?

    • Soli deo gloria

      Hi Bible Study,
      I see you are protesting here against the prevailing carelessness that has infested many congregations, not only in Australia but other countries too. This corruption is convenient for those who are self centred, and please themselves not God.
      When I see what goes on in some ‘worship’ meetings, I note the assumption among leaders that God is present …. but wonder. If we were summoned to an audience with the Queen of England, I think our behaviour and attitudes would be very different to those that pervade many assemblies of believers.

      As a student of the Scriptures, I am sure you are aware of the balancing texts to the truth you have rightly pointed out:
      1 John 1:10, and 2:1. Yes John applies this balance too! Once God saves us, we are saved forever, but that is where the problems START for us. We don’t carelessly or thoughtlessly run on in sin as we used to. We find that conscience heightens our sensitivity to sin. Even Paul struggled with this in Romans 7v 21-25.

      The truth is we will struggle against sin until our last breath. The fact that we struggle is one evidence that God is at work in us. Sometimes it seems to me that I am swimming against the tide every day of my life (and not always successfully). Someone once comforted me with the thought that ‘dead fish do not swim up stream’. Keep on struggling and following Christ who calls you to holiness (without which no one shall see the Lord).

      • Stu (Author)

        Good point Soli deo gloria. When one hears the teaching of ‘justification’ and ‘eternal security’, (ie someone who has been born again spiritually and saved by God cannot lose that salvation because it’s a work done by God alone) a common response is to look flippantly at sin and draw on the ‘infinite supply of God’s grace and live how we want’. To live like this shows no fruit of repentance.

        I am in the process of writing a blog post on what I think saving faith is. I feel there is much confusion as to what having faith in Christ means today. Having faith is not just believing that Jesus died for my sins and accepting that sacrifice for ourselves. The bible also closely links salvation with repentance, ie the turning from sin and towards God. A term that may be better understood and more accurately reflect the biblical word of faith today is ‘trust’. By trusting in Jesus we repent of our sinful nature and have faith that Christ’ sacrifice will free us from the power of sin and grant us new spiritual life with God. We put our trust in Jesus to redeem and empower us each day. That’s why the gospel message is crucial for everyone, every day! There must be both faith and repentance for salvation to occur. I will speak more of that in my post.

        In short our Christian lives are effectively a daily war against our sinful nature and the new nature that God has given birth within us as evidenced by the indwelling Holy Spirit. That struggle will not go away no matter how mature in our faith we ‘think’ we are. I find the more I mature as a Christian the more I realise how sinful I am! Yet that doesn’t mean I haven’t turned from sin, but rather I realise how much God has paid the price to save me.

        What I think is crucial in today’s church culture is to have that balance between a healthy, reverent fear of the holy God we serve and His hatred of sin and an embracing of the grace that He pours on our lives through Christ. There is no condemnation in Christ, yet we must understand as Christians that we are born again and have been bought at a huge price. Therefore we are to hate sin more and more, turning from it, even though part of of us wants to rebel against that every day! If we don’t persevere in this battle and feel it’s not for us, then how can we be sure of the saving work of Christ in our lives. A very sobering thought.

        • Soli deo gloria

          Stu, I appreciate you are concerned to emphasise that we are called to struggle against sin, and this is something that is convenient to overlook or ignore by Christians in this ‘beach culture’ which dominates our unique location. Assurance is unlikely to be a problem for the fake christian, or the careless Christian for most of the time. Struggling sincere Christians may take heart from their struggles with sin, it is true, but by far the best antidote to doubt and despondency is not what I might be doing, or my struggles, it is (as it is at the very gate to the kingdom) looking to Christ and Christ alone. We begin with Him, we continue with Him, and mercifully we end this life with Him to pass into His presence to enjoy him even more for ever and ever.

          This may seem subtle, but the shift in emphasis is massive, and the change it brings to daily life is incomparable.

  4. Stu (Author)

    2010/09/29 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Soli deo gloria,

    So true! Without even realising we can make it about ourselves and our stuff ups and where we are not measuring up, when we should be putting our focus on Christ and what He has done. Sure we need to respond to the convictions of the Holy Spirit and work with Him in repenting and following Christ more in our lives. The fruit and work of God in our lives is the evidence that we belong to Him (1 Tim 4:6-16, Titus 1:16, 1 John 2:4-6, 1 Cor 2:1-16, 2Cor 13:5). However we can get bogged down focusing on our struggles instead of the liberating power and majesty of the One we serve and live to glorify.

    Galatians 5:16 says walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Perhaps we should focus more on Christ and we will not feed the sin that so easily entangles our lives”

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